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THE WORD — Winnie the Pooh’s wisdom about goodbyes

In 1991, Boyz II Men released the song, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

This classic song begins with, “How do I say goodbye to what we had? The good times that made us laugh outweigh the bad,” and then ends with, “And I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

That’s deep, ain’t it? It truly is hard to say goodbye. Folks joke us southerners for having an almost 20-step process for saying goodbyes. You gotta give an “about to leave” warning, followed by a “we’ve really gotta go” statement, then hugs, walk to the door and talk on the porch for a bit, more hugs, more talking while getting in the car, then rolling down the window and yelling goodbyes and I love yous as you’re pulling away. It truly is hard to say goodbye.

I love what A.A. Milne said through Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Shew! That quote can hit you in the feels, can’t it?

It truly is hard to say goodbye. If you have ever read any of the letters in the New Testament the apostle Paul wrote, have you noticed how eloquently he said his goodbyes?

He commended folks, challenged folks, gave credit where credit was due, then quickly says his peace and goodbyes.

But have you ever noticed how often Paul tells folks to whom he is writing words like, “I always thank my God for you?” (1 Cor. 1:4) Goodbyes are often hard because we can’t imagine what it would be like without the one with whom we are parting.

Paul often told the churches he was writing to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18), but it is hard to rejoice and give thanks at times when our hearts are oh-so-heavy. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

What if we spend more time appreciating what we have before it becomes painful to remember what we had. What if we stopped suggesting getting together with folks and instead made plans then and there to meet for dinner, or drinks? What if we didn’t complain about folks not coming to see us, but instead decided to go and see them instead?

These items don’t make goodbyes any easier, but it sure does fill us with hope and memories to appreciate what we have. Maybe it’s time we, like Pooh, realize “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Father, thank You for all I have.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.